County officials in Minneapolis and throughout Hennepin County believe in being prepared for all kinds of disasters/emergencies. As a result, Hennepin County has been recognized by the National Weather Service as a “StormReady” community.
There are currently 150 emergency management specialists working in Minnesota and that number is predicted to increase to 180 by 2018. The Bureau of Labor Statistics maintains that the annual mean salary for Emergency Management directors in Minnesota is $71,100 and $77,920 in the Minneapolis area.
Requirements for an Emergency Management Career in Hennepin County
The educational requirement for a job as an emergency management specialist is a bachelor’s degree in emergency management or a degree in a field like public administration and certification as an emergency management specialist. There is one on-site college in Hennepin County, as well as sever accredited online schools, offering degrees in emergency management.
The Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) division of the MN Public Health Department offers an Emergency Management Professional Certification Training Program that combines online FEMA courses and HSEM classes and workshops. The 121-hour program includes courses in subjects like:
- Incident Command Systems
- Hazardous Materials
- Animals in a Disaster
- Integrated Public Warning Systems
- Continuity of Operations
- Managing Volunteers
- Infrastructure Protection
Emergency Management in Hennepin County
According to the U.S. Tornado and Weather Extremes database, Hennepin County has a greater chance of tornadoes than either Minnesota or the U.S. as a whole. Between 1950 and 2010, the county had 63 tornadoes which caused dozens of fatalities, hundreds of injuries and millions of dollars in property damage. The county also experienced 498 floods, 4,848 hail storms, 4,542 severe thunderstorms and 58 blizzards.
Hennepin County is not immune to manmade emergencies, such as the September 27, 2012 shooting by a fired worker of Minneapolis-based Accent Signages Systems that killed seven people and wounded two others.
The Hennepin County Department of Emergency Management is dedicated to sustaining the capabilities to prepare for, prevent, mitigate, and recover from natural disasters, acts of terrorism or industrial disasters. Functions aimed at achieving that goal include:
- Develop programs designed to maintain a state of preparedness
- Identify/coordinate inventories of public and private disaster resources
- Implement plans/projects that effectively utilize these resources
- Monitor the storage and movement of hazardous materials
- Watch over such vulnerable infrastructure as bridges and dams
- Conduct public emergency preparedness events like “Severe Winter Weather Awareness Week.”
Emergency Management in Minneapolis
The Minneapolis Emergency Preparedness Team is a special office of city government that provides leadership in preparing for, responding to and recovering from natural or manmade disasters that affect Minneapolis. The team develops plans in preparation for all types of emergencies/disasters, including those that are weather related, acts of terrorism, disease outbreaks like SARS, or mass killings. The team coordinates plans and actions with federal, state and other local agencies.
The city has also instituted the FEMA-developed CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) program which trains volunteers in basic disaster response skills like fire safety, first aid and light search/rescue so they are prepared to assist both before and after the arrival of first responders on the scene.